How To Make A Great First Impression With Your Blog

One of the best ways to get more traffic to your blog is to get linked back from other blogs. If your blog’s new, then most of the people visiting your site won’t have a clue who you are or what you blog about, so you have to make a great first impression.

As the saying goes, you only get one first impression and you need to grab each new visitor’s attention and compel them to stick around and check out your blog. Here’s a few tips to do just that:

  1. Include your photo in the header of every page. I do it on my blog and John does it with his favicon and on his Who Is John Chow? page. Having your photo on your blog shows readers you’re a real person and that you’re not hiding behind your words. With so many faceless blogs floating around people will appreciate the fact you’ve taken the time to show them who you are. You can go one step further by creating an “About Me” page…
  2. Create an honest, detailed “About Me” page. I think every blog should have a long, detailed page that talks about you, the writer of the blog. It should include all of your accomplishments (and failures) to date, as well as your hobbies and interests. People relate to people, and after reading your about page you want readers to feel like they’ve made a connection with you, which will make sure they stick around and check out some of your blog posts.
  3. Setup a page for visitors searching for specific content. John and I were just talking on MSN messenger about how he wants to get to the front page of Google for the phrase “make money online” and I suggested checking the referrer and if the person came from Google with the search phrase “make money online” that he setup a simple page to tell people who he is, what he stands for and list the top 10 posts in his blog about how to make money online.A lot of commercial sites track search phrases to do this and it works really well. Visitors appreciate that you’ve taken the time to point them in the right direction and thus they stick around longer. In business this is called having a “message to market match”. That is, your message (blog) is what your market (visitors) were looking for.
  4. Be yourself and speak your mind. Your blog is your personal stomping ground to write about whatever you want. Never, ever, ever skew your views or opinions on a topic just because someone has promise to pay you for it. You’ll lose your credibility faster than you can say “zero traffic”. Always be honest, open and upfront with your readers, and if you think something sucks just tell them.

I hope these tips can help you increase the “stickiness” of your blog – that is, making sure new visitors stick around longer. If you have any more suggestions leave them as comments below 🙂

This post was “guest blogged” my me, Mitchell Harper. I also run my own blog over at HarpzOn.com where I talk about getting traffic, marketing, copywriting, etc. I have been online for over 10 years and run a successful software company called Interspire.


96 thoughts on “How To Make A Great First Impression With Your Blog”

  1. Bryan Baker says:

    ***Mitch***
    Another guest blogger 😀 Always nice for John to have a vacation.
    I’ll start on the “About Bryan Baker” page right now. Great post. Photos…hmmm. I’ve got one above the fold currently.

    1. Mitch says:

      HAHAA yeah – John’s not on vacation but he’s a smart guy offering guest bloggers the chance to add to his blog. I’m happy to contribute a few posts every week or so.

      1. Justin Slife says:

        Great post Mitch…thanks for the help. I’ll put you’re tips to good use. I think guest bloggers are great (especially for you). I’m checking out your blog right now. Looking forward to your next post here.

      2. HMTKSteve says:

        What a guy, offering others the chance to guest blog for him. That’s a risky thing to do as one bad post can really ruin things.

        1. Marc says:

          I suspect John looks at them… Right John?

          Even if he doesn’t. He’s been pretty selective in the people he chooses. If you looks at their blogs, they’re all fairly well written.

        2. I’m John selects people he can trust, that’s what I do!

          1. Zach says:

            or you can go the easy way and just write them all yourselve

          2. Having guest bloggers is working well for John. :mrgreen:

        3. Mark Shead says:

          I am sure he doesn’t just turn over the password and say “go for it”. They get read first.

  2. chrisjos says:

    Great post John…Just the information I needed for my new blog…

    1. John Chow says:

      Thanks, but I didn’t write this post. 🙂

      1. Mitch says:

        I’ll take the credit for that! 😈

        1. chrisjos says:

          My bad Mitch….. 🙁

          1. Mitch says:

            Hehe its OK! That evil face is too evil. I meant for it to be a smiling kind of evil face 🙂

        2. Dax Desai says:

          Hmmm. “honest” about me? John says he’s evil. Evil is pretty popular on Technorati these days 😀 👿

          1. Mark Shead says:

            Evil is a very nice marketing ploy. And it lets you get by with doing things like eating live lobsters.

        3. Marc says:

          Congrats Mitch. I’m sure being featured here will be a boon to your blog 🙂

      2. Aris says:

        I think he was thanking you to have this info on here, John. 😈

  3. Tyler says:

    I just updated my avatar for MyBlogLog with a picture of me holding my new (well ok my mum’s) new toy.

    I do like the black dragon I had before, but I look at people’s avatars of themselves and always thought that it would be fun to be able to get a decent image for mine of me.

    1. Bryan Baker says:

      ***Tyler***
      Nice avatar. Personal avatars are what I like to see. Anyone with an avatar of a naked girl or some freaky eyeball is just annoying.

      1. or some black silhouette… *wink*

      2. Mark Shead says:

        So is that actually a picture of you with everything blacked out?

    2. David says:

      hmm..that looks like a nice new toy!! I’m in the market for a dSLR…can’t wait till I get one!!!

  4. Aris says:

    Great post, Mitch. Putting my own picture in my blog? I have thought about it but may be after I retire. 🙂

    1. Why wait til you retire?

  5. Aris says:

    Congratulation John. You’re in the first page on ‘make money online’ in google in US now. Next question is, when are you going to surpase the #5 position of Probologer. 😈

    1. Mitch says:

      He’s only on page 2 on Google.com for me.. he’s been on page 1 for Google Australia (I’m in Sydney) and has been for a while. Now to get my blog to the first page… 😈

      1. Bryan Baker says:

        You can do it bro…good content will power you to the top, and so far you’ve got only that.

        1. Aris says:

          Just to make sure, I went to click on that link and was taken to this page. I think it’s a matter of time. We all know that in less than 3 days finally the source of evil made it to the front page in the US. 😈

      2. Aris says:

        May be it takes time to propagate down to Australia. Last night I was confused when Albert posted about John was on the first page. But both Albert and John clarified it later that it was from the down under. Yes, I know you’re from Sydney. Hopefully one day I could visit that great city before my son moves to other place.

    2. Problogger has a strong base support, so John probably need much more of that. 😀

      1. Mark Shead says:

        Problogger also has 20,000 people reading the feed. That will take quite a while to top.

  6. I have to say mitch has definitely made a name for himself…in blogging in such a short amount of time!

    Hey mitch if you can point me in a good direction for getting my blog out there. A lot of the same things that you implement on your blog and monetize with don’t really work well with my audience considering my blog is about how to start a clothing line from scratch.

    any help is appreciated? contact me [email protected]

  7. Michael Kwan says:

    Nice post. I should get around to getting a good picture of myself up.

    1. Aris says:

      I think the one like your avatar would be good Michael. 😈

      1. Michael Kwan says:

        I’m not sure how the evil smilie fits into that statement, but I think that might be a good idea. 😎

        1. I really think it would help people find the real Micheal Kwan!

          1. Michael Kwan says:

            Well, I just put up a picture on my about page: btr.michaelkwan.com/about/

            What do you guys think?

  8. Great post Mitch! very useful

  9. Jason says:

    Thanks for the tips Mitch!

    1. Mitch says:

      No probs Jason. Loving the name of your blog 😎

  10. Yumcha Girl says:

    Very good post Mitch! I did make a lengthy “About Me” page and funnily enough, that’s one of the most popular pages! Thanks for the information and I will make sure to read your regular blog. Cheers.

  11. Great post Mitch! 😀

  12. Jeff Kee says:

    I need to get some time to re-design my blog.. gahh. time time time.

    1. Bryan Baker says:

      Control your time or your time will control you.

      1. No kidding, I want to sit and write more content, but I get side tracked so easily!

        1. Mark Shead says:

          Sidetracked with commenting here?

    2. David says:

      yes..time..time…time…where does it all go!!! and really!! Why can’t I be more organized and more efficient???

      1. Zach says:

        I always find myself taking a while to write because i get to sidetracked

        1. Michael Kwan says:

          Then don’t get sidetracked 🙂

          I used to write with music playing or the TV on… yeah, not such a bright idea.

      2. Mark Shead says:

        My site is exactly for someone with your problem. 🙂

  13. Since everybody here just likes to give “great post” comments and not talk about what was said or talk about who actually made the post I thought I would make a useful comment.

    You make the point “Setup a page for visitors searching for specific content”. That statement and what you continued to say about it makes no since. Are you saying that you create a page about “make money online” or are you talking about redirecting the user to another page if they come from google for that term. If you mean redirect that is against the Google TOS and will get you banned from Google.

    1. David: I’m not talking about redirecting them. I’m talking about showing them content they are interested in at the top of your site if they come from Google.

      For example, you search for “how to make money online” and end up at John Chow. At the top of the page John adds something like:

      “Hi. I’m John Chow. I noticed you were searching for information on making money online. Here are the top 10 posts about how to make money from my blog:

      1. xxxxxxxxxxxx
      2 xxxxxxxx”

      etc. Just a block of info at the top of the page they come to that related back to their search terms. No redirecting. Hope that makes sense.

      1. So, how do you suggest doing that with a WordPress blog?

      2. Mark Shead says:

        I have had good luck looking at the search strings that sent people to the site in the first place and then writing content based on those strings. It helps reinforce what people are already finding at the site.

    2. I guess it means to include an all TOP posts sections or some of the posts that your audience enjoy for first time visitors. It serves as a good recap for ‘veterans’ too.

      1. Mark Shead says:

        You could create a side bar that dynamically shows posts related to the search string coming from Google. It would be like a combination of the related posts plugin and the one that lets you highlight search terms.

  14. IpostIT says:

    Very useful post. About me is definitely the most important page on your blog. I always read that page probably before I even read the first post. I think when I visited JohnChow.com, the page mentioning him being a pro wrestler and all that throwing stones at panda babies was what got me hooked. 😀

    Mitch, I love the fact that you are running your blog on your own product, ArticleLive.

  15. Nice tips. Looks like I have to work on point 1 & 2 for myself. They are definitely lacking..

  16. Julian says:

    These are all very goo tips. Very useful.

  17. Matthew says:

    nice opportunity for you mitch, ive visited your blog and subscribed to your feed, i do hope you can address my question for you 🙂

  18. Greg Stratz says:

    Great posts I liek the tips. Keep them comming

  19. Mephala says:

    Thanks for the post! I realise I have done all but 3 as my blog provider doesn’t offer categories. I did however add what I consider my best and most helpful posts in categories (yeah, by manual coding) on the sidebar.

  20. HMTKSteve says:

    Did somebody just ad Kontera to their advertising line up?

    1. I had just noticed the same thing. We just added it yesterday as well. I’m very interested to see how it does.

      1. Matthew says:

        I used Kontera but it just didnt fit in with us, not enough traffic to be useful

    2. I tried but go denied 🙁

  21. I’m always amazed how many people neglect their ‘About’ page (myself included).

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      I know I’ve been guilty of that. I’ll try to work on it over the course of the next couple of weeks when I have spare moments.

  22. Evarest says:

    Thank you for these tips John & Mitch! I must confess i was kinda confused with who wrote the actual post though 😉

    Bwa, now i really have to write that about page 😕 Just need to find a start, i guess 😉

  23. I was going to add a picture, but I didn’t want to intimidate our audience! 😆

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      I think so long as you’re not eating an infant, you should be fine. 🙂

  24. UberDan says:

    Thanks for the post, very helpful for the newbie to blogging 😉 Checked out your site and you have some really great content, your stats for a 2 week old blog are awesome.

  25. esofthub says:

    I just beefed up my “About Page” on Blogger. I started out with two lines (actually 1.5 lines) in Sept ’06.

    I’m just reluctant to writing about myself. Then again, I suppose, I just did that recently–wrote my own appraisal…again.

    And as my Boss said, “what employee is going to say (write) I suck and I need improvement?” He’s right. 🙂

  26. Redstar says:

    Great tips Mitch. Another good one, is to keep your blog in the same style. Dont mix it with differend styles, in your content sidebar and so on.

  27. domestika says:

    That third point, Mitch, the one about creating landing pages to point searchers to relevant content, was especially interesting. Not restricted to blogs, either – I can see right now how this could apply to a website I’ve been struggling to move to page 1 from page 2 search results. As for points 1, 2, and 4 – good concrete do-able advice for those who struggle to figure out how to give a blog the stamp of individuality. Thanks much.

  28. Joey says:

    All good points. Thanks for the info. My blog and yours are on different topics but you give me great info to use. Your comment about making a connection with the reader reminded me of the importance of that fact. I read a book about leadership and that was one if its key topics.

  29. Great post overall but I think #1 and #2 really resonate with me. Blogs began as a personal way to get your thoughts out there and this is a reminder of how important personality and a connection with your readers really is. There’s a lot of value to derive from a return to these roots. Thanks for the reminder!

  30. Good idea about creating the visitor page. I haven’t done this in the past mainly because I didn’t want my personal identity violated. 🙂

  31. IndoDX says:

    Hmm.. nice tips Mitch.. this really usefull idea… make blog and make great impression

  32. ilker says:

    I made that favicon for John! Thanks for the credit 😉

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Favicons are great for building brand image. I have two separate ones for my freelance writing business and for my blog.

  33. Zach says:

    I think these strategies work for any blog, it’s a great post. But if your sites a high traffic site, it’s also good to show off things such as your rss readers

  34. Zach says:

    I made sure to read this post carefully seeing how i’ve just started up my site

  35. Mani says:

    I will add that – Keep away all your personal interests and eating habits unless you have something really to flaunt about.Nobody wants to know what you did last weekend unless you went to disney world or something – And stop self-marketing unlike JC – but he does it with style! 😀

    Mani

  36. KCLau says:

    thanks Mitch. I am editing my about me page now!

  37. Jeff says:

    Excellent article, great tips, thanks!!

    Jeff – http://wallpapers.jeffreymunro.com

  38. Yep these tips might help, but it sure isn’t helping me much. I really need to focus on bringing people to my site, because without the traffic than nothing else matters. But good advice for a small aspect of a successful blog.

    Adam
    TheAdambox.com

  39. I’ve read a lot of how-to-pimp-your-blog articles before, but I think yours was most helpful, John — thanks a bunch! 😀

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